Just one quarter of UK firms consider diversity an important hiring factor

Just one quarter of UK firms consider diversity an important hiring factor

With cultural fit and diversity rising up corporate agendas, with several recruitment figureheads acknowledging their importance in hiring, British companies appear to be much more comfortable sticking to their checklists when it comes to finding employees.

According to a new survey by IDC commissioned by Cornerstone OnDemand, candidates that meet the job requirements (57%) are the most important criteria to British organisations.

Education was found to be the second most important, with 41% of respondents agreeing, followed by problem-solving ability (35%). Cultural fit came fourth in the list, with almost a third (31%) viewing it as important. In addition, diversity (25%) was not considered a key indicator.

And despite the value of experience, historic success and references (27%) were the fifth most important criteria.

Peter Gold, Principal Consultant, thought leadership and advisory service at Cornerstone OnDemand, voiced concern over British organisation’s preferences. “Sticking to ‘the way things have always been done’ are putting them at risk of narrowing the organisation’s ability to deliver change and drive innovation,” he said.

“British companies should widen the net for new recruits where possible and look to drive new skill-sets and capabilities into the workforce through training and talent development,” he said, referring to companies’ preference to hire internally.

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“In hiring new, diverse candidates with exponential thinking skills into the workforce, companies will also bring in a new set of ideas, and different views may be a useful injection of innovation. This is as much about bringing this kind of thinking into the recruitment process itself, as well as into the workforce.”

However, in a recent interview with Recruitment Grapevine, Indeed’s Head of HR, Paul Wolfe, disagrees with a focus on diversity in hiring. “Personally, I’m not a big fan of quotas; you have to hire the right people for the job and that can be anyone,” he explains.

“What is important, is stripping away at the biases we all have.”

As an example, Wolfe said that recruiters should instead focusing on attributes, such as skills over where someone was educated. “Whilst there are lots of ways to go out and hire diverse talent, for example, using quotas, working with recruitment firms with a focus on diversity, if you can’t keep those hires then there’s a bigger problem. Attrition costs businesses a lot, both in terms of hard and soft costs.

“My advice is to do all you can to mitigate existing biases and ensuring hiring managers, recruiters etc understand and are aware of them. If you’re doing all of that well, you’ll be able to hire a diverse workforce.”

The survey also shed light on how companies are finding talent. Internal recruitment (53%) was found to be the most frequently used recruitment practice for UK organisations, followed by the use of job platforms (51%) and recruitment agencies (44%).

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